Aysin Onen

Death by the Lake

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Wednesday, the 28 of September.

The animal lover community of Istanbul is alerted by the gruesome news of the discovery of a mass poisoning of stray dogs in the Bolluca forest.

Surrounding one of the small lakes in the area, lay the bodies of well over 150 dogs. The animals, all of them known to the many volunteers feeding the strays in the area lay on the floor with evident poisoning symptoms.

For years, the Bolluca area has been a preferred location for Kadir Topbas, the Mayor of Istanbul, to dump thousands of animals in one of the worst managed stray dog programs in Europe.

Tens of animal lovers accompanied by their trusted veterinarians rushed to the location in order to administer first aid to the animals. Some of the worst affected cases have been taken to clinics all across Istanbul.

Animal lovers, in their search for a culprit blame the poisoning on the inhabitants of the village.

We arrived to the site in the evening, spent some examining the dogs and talking to the volunteers. It didn’t take us long to realize that this was not the usual “mass poisoning campaign”.

Most of the dogs were still alive.

We took two of the worst cases and rushed them to our clinic where we performed a preliminary blood test. The test results were normal, with no traces of the usual poison used in previous mass killings around the country. There were no traces of strychnine or any of the chemicals used in rat poison.

The animals were clearly in distress and pain, but they had no seizures and any other of the symptoms typically associated with poison.

In the morning an autopsy was performed on one of the dogs that died. The doctors found an unsual amount of sausages and turkish salami (sucuk) in the animal’s stomach.

It took us a few seconds to understand and join all the pieces together. This hasn’t been an intentional crime, this has been a very cruel accident caused by someone who didn’t intended to harm the dogs in the first place.

Botulism.

Botulism is caused by botulinum toxin, a potent neurotoxin. There are seven types of botulinum toxin, being type C the one most commonly causing botulism in animals.Botulism occurs when animals ingest preformed toxins in food or C. botulinum spores germinate in anaerobic tissues and produce toxins as they grow.

It all made sense… the dogs had eaten sausages… sausages infected with the toxin.

The only possible treatment is the administration of Botulinum antitoxin, a state regulated medication that, given early, may prevent the disease from progressing and decrease the duration of symptoms.

As supportive treatment it is recommended stomach lavage and the application of enemas as well as respiratory support if the muscles that assist breathing are affected.

That is the treatment the four dogs we have rescued are following. We have instructed the volunteers and vets on the site on how to best perform stomach lavage and enemas. We don’t know if they will be able to perform the procedures.

Chances are the most affected dogs will die an extremely slow and agonizing death but we believe many will recover although it will take a very long time.

The burning question is… How could something like this happen? Who did this?

I don’t know the name of the person who did it, but an educated guess gives me a very close explanation to what it may have happened.

Many animal lovers, in their efforts to feed the stray animals routinely accept excess and out of date stock from supermarkets given away for free or at a heavily discounted price. I believe this was caused by a well-intentioned animal lover that got hold of a large amount of out-of-date sausages given away by a supermarket chain.

Sadly, this time, the animal savior became their killer.

Please watch this video, it will help you understand the sad plea of all those animals laying out in the fields of Istanbul, literally, waiting to die. After you have watched, pls SHARE this post, it may save some lives. Our thanks to Aysin Onen for her strength and courage taking these pictures..

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